Simonga-Maliko Rehearsals for Linz09

Maliko Budima Group: Trip to Binga for Rehearsals for Linz09 from 02 – 09 January, 2009.

Maliko Budima group  from Sinazongwe / Zambia had a trip across the Lake Kariba to Binga for its final rehearsal for the journey to Austria in May 2009. The rehearsal was held at Binga High School from 2nd to 9th January.

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The Sinazongwe group, comprised of: Honorary Chief Sinazongwe, The chairman David Simundando, Mr. Louis Manje,  Mr. David Simachina, Mr. Bernard Siakachela,  Mr. Zilo Sikaputa, Mr. David Siakusulwe, Mr. Moses .S. Kandongwe, Mr. Million Siagwinda, Mr. Benson Siamunkombwa, Mr. Philla Milandu,  Mr. Ellison Siamuchiliba, Miss. Selina Chilolo, Mrs. Evah Sialumbuka, Mrs. Agnes Siamunyembe; and the Tonga.OnAir Sinazongwe radio station was represented by Mr. Herbert Chalimika and Mr. J.Moyo.

After lunch which was taken at the chief’s palace we started off at 14:12hrs to Simuyika, where a hired ferry was to take us across. We reached Simuyika at 17:30hrs and headed straight to the ferry, and loaded our belongings. 18:38hrs we were on the vast waters of lake Kariba. We managed to communicate to the Arts and Communication Manager Mr. Sengamo Ndlovu from Tonga.Online in Binga to expect us in 2hrs time and to confirm where to dock.

It was a good cruise captained by Raphael Siachekutu and his assistant a Mr. Mukuka, taking us across the lake, the once was a fertile land for the people on board of the ferry. Memories for their villages, playing grounds and where they were herding animals, even the approximation of the river where they drew water and taking animals for drinking, women could go to the same river to collect some grinding stones.
We reached Binga at 19:56hrs and docked at the houseboat harbor, Mr. Sengamo was waiting at the other side of the harbor known as the push back which we failed to locate. At 21:10hrs he phoned us to know where we were, he was told that we docked at the other side and he drove to our side. At 21:15hrs the first group was taken and the last group was picked at 22:28hrs.

At Binga High School we met our counter parts of Simoonga Budima group  from Siachilaba which comprised of  the “keeper of the horns” Sialwiindi “Jossam” Munkuli, chairman Mr. Peter Mungombe, Mr. Vincent Siankuli, Mr. Mathias Moombe, Mr. Windo.S.Mukuli,  Mr. Lindu .G.Mukuli, Mr. Candles  .B.Mukuli, Mr. Well Muleya,  Mr. Nelson .S. Mukuli,  Mr. Kellys Mwiinde,  Mr. John Siachilete,  Mr. Martin Munenge,  Mr. Dick Njelwa Mukuli,  Miss Magret .M.Moombe, Miss Bertha Siamundenda and
Miss  Janet Muzamba.
The following day after breakfast, a programme was drafted on how the rehearsals will be conducted and the schedule for meals was put, the rehearsals was drawn into two slots the morning session and the afternoon session.

The merging of these two groups -  in this report I will refer to as  “Malimoonga” extracted from the group names of both sides,  from the group Maliko from the  Zambian side and Simoonga  from the Zimbabwean side – is  significant for their joint performance in early  May in Austria where they will take part in the Parade project of Linz09 Cultural Capital of Europe.

The Malimoonga had an opportunity to visit the Binga museum, watch the video on xenophobia in  South Africa, and some of the Binga Schools’ videos shot before the collapse of the education system in comparison to the current situation in Zimbabwe particularly in Binga.

Malimoonga managed to polish up their trumpeting, the ladies tuned their voices as the nyele was been blown. Dancing was another nice thing to watch, sharp nyele sounds drew people and nearby residents and  others drove to watch this rare occasion.

New dances were taught, the group was told to choose three songs per each side to rehearsal these dances which are Kalilo dance, Kalumbu and Kankobela. Kalilo dance, is danced by men and women dancing going round the drummer singing and dancing as they go round. Kankobela is a thumb instrument  done by one person while singing . Kalumbu is a traditional instrument made in form of bow and arrow, the centre of the bow has a shell like thing which when played it is placed against the belly.

On Thursday, the Horn. Chief Sinazongwe and I attended a review workshop at Binga Rest Camp for Tonga Online. This workshop was an eye opener to us from Zambia. We learnt how Tonga Online works with the schools were they had computers and challenges they are facing in the fields. Some noted that challenges were power cuts, participation of women and elders in management committees which was either low or not there, headmasters being frustrated by local communities and thefts of solar panels. To see the benefits and importance of computers in the community, the local leaders have been empowered to use computers to write minutes and letters by their secretaries, teachers also produce exam materials for their schools. The objectives for Tonga Online were noted as promoting community development, building information technology through infrastructure development, improve education, improve community building and networking, promoting local content and culture exchange, access for all, local ownership and management. The day ended with an encouragement to all the participants to attend the following day for planning, except the Zambian team who were to leave the following day in the morning.

After the day’s workshop at 16:00hrs we were at Binga High school grounds where we found the Malimoonga ready for a road show. We started off from the school grounds blowing and drumming through the teachers compound to the main road, this pulled a good number of people following and dancing to the nyele, a few motorist stopped to watch this occasion. Malimoonga danced their way up to the junction close to the Police station and turned into  Freedom square near the District Administrators office were a brief stop over was made. After 10minutes, Malimoonga started off heading to Tonga Online offices at Binga Library drumming their way. At the offices that’s were the finishing point was made, after speeches, a refreshment was taken signaling the end of the whole process.

Departure day was Friday the 9th of January, 2009 at 07: 30hrs we were on the road to the harbor, the ferry was already waiting for us. At 08:30hrs we were on the waters, the ferry took us across the lake and docked at Maaze harbor at 11:45hrs after an hour we started off for Sinazongwe and reached at 17:00hrs.


Hospitality, we faced a challenge on bedding the beds organized had no mattresses, though the explanation was given, mosquitoes was another source of worry special arrangements were supposed to be in place like mosquito repellants in place of mosquito nets though mosquito nets and tissues come at a later stage.

Meals and tea-breaks were provided and eat on time, but being a long stay, balanced diet was not observed . The same relish was provided for lunch and supper during the whole stay.

Health. Several complaints of health matters were recorded but 2 cases were a bit serious one was down with malaria and treatment was sought at Binga District hospital and another man for Simoonga group developed a problem of swelling on his face and feet which disturbed his rehearsal for three days, the others were minor headache s and backache pains which could be the result of the heat and old age for the physically strenous  rehearsal they had.


We recommend that in an event of inviting let the invitation letters state what to carry with you besides the usual personal clothing. Preparations should be done before hand and not on the last minute A first aid kit should be provided to the group. The convener should visit the group regularly in the morning in order to know how his visitors have spent the night and any other problem which could have arisen.

By Joshua Moyo / Tonga.OnAir